The Parallels Amongst Ourselves
In today’s scuzzy garage-punk/smirky synth-pop indie climate, the Interpol/Editors-style glide of Sugar Army’s debut platter feels like a flickering dispatch from 2004. Credit them for bucking trends even just slightly, and for imbuing their post-punk revival-revivalism with far more muscle than today’s guitar/drum machine duos. One key asset is singer Patrick McLaughlin, whose keening instrument bypasses the expected Ian Curtis mode, falling halfway between Neil Finn and Helio Sequence’s Brandon Summers. The subtly ratcheting drama of obvious highlight “Detach” underscores the Interpol comparison, but the record’s most surprising track is also its heaviest: “Maybe the Boy Who Cried Wolf Was Just Paranoid” is a menacing stomp so crushing it occasionally edges on Helmet (!) territory. Though it loses a little steam toward the end, Parallels has a tension-and-release vitality that’s refreshing and, in this day and age, downright commendable.